New subsea network cable to increase connectivity in Europe

Subsea Cable

Aqua Comms, a leading provider of network connectivity services, Bulk Fiber Networks, a leading builder and operator of fibre network infrastructure, and Meta have completed the construction of the Havhingsten subsea network system, which hopes to bring greater connectivity in Europe and the Nordics.

The new route manages to avoid congested paths across the English Channel and offers resilient network architecture options for enterprises, carriers and hyperscalers, whilst aiming to deliver the lowest latency available between Dublin and the Nordic region.

The Havhingsten cable system showcased several key innovations and technological milestones throughout its design and construction.

Firstly, Havhingsten is the world’s first aluminum conductor-powered subsea cable system. As a material, aluminum allows for a much lower cable conductor voltage drop, which ultimately allows for a higher number of fibre pairs per cable. To achieve such innovative solutions requires investment in technology and close collaboration with partners and vendors. The removal of traditional copper raw material and replacement with aluminum from the manufacturing process benefits the overall system in efficiency and cost reduction, as copper is associated with variable availability and higher price. Additionally, because aluminium is lighter, it allows more cable to be loaded onto an installation vessel while also improving resistance to hydrogen penetration, an element that is unfavorable to the operation of optical fibre in ocean waters.

Secondly, the end-to-end system combines data transmission seamlessly across both an unrepeatered subsea segment in the Irish Sea, a terrestrial segment in the UK and a repeatered segment in the North Sea. Typical systems have one or two of these elements, but not all three.

Lastly, the system utilised a new enhanced, jet-assisted burial plough in both the North and Irish Sea segments, allowing the installers of the system to bury the cable to the specific demanding level of protection in very challenging seabed conditions along the route.

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